May Sets Up Meeting With Irish "Kingmakers"

The Prime Minister will hold separate talks at Downing Street on Thursday afternoon with the leaders of Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and Alliance Party to dispel their fears that the anticipated parliamentary deal between the Tories and the DUP will undermine the peace process.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Hain has accused the Conservatives of "putting party before peace" by seeking an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to shore up Theresa May's minority administration in Parliament.

The First Minister said she was concerned by the "disregard" shown for the Northern Irish peace process and called for full details of any deal to be made public.

"I confirmed to President Macron that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week", May said after her meeting with the new French leader, who will be a key player in the Brexit talks.

To make things worse, the main opposition party Labour entered the election holding only 229 seats and came out with 262, raising the chances of its leader Jeremy Corbyn to succeed May as the next premier.

Party leader Arlene Foster seemed buoyant as she arrived at May's Downing Street office and her happy mood continued even after May left for the House of Commons without comment.

To do so, she will be heavily reliant on the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who can help her edge past the 326 votes needed in Parliament to avoid the collapse of the government.

The EU will keep the door open for Britain to return, but only on worse terms than it now has, European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said Wednesday (14 June).

"Now as Parliament returns, we have a Government in complete disarray still unable to reach an agreement, it seems, with the DUP and desperately delaying the Queen's Speech and Brexit negotiations".

May had called the vote early in hopes of strengthening her majority going into talks on exiting the European Union.

"We've had some very good discussions today and those discussions are continuing this afternoon", she said.

Foster will nearly certainly ask for greater investment in Northern Ireland as part of the deal, as well as guarantees on support for pension plans and for winter fuel allowances for older people.

"Ultimately, I think the parties understand people voted in the March Assembly elections for a strong voice at Stormont".

Ms O'Neill said: "We made very clear the the Prime Minister that any deal between herself and the DUP can not undermine the Good Friday Agreement, it can not undermine the joint nature of the office".

Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson travelled to Belfast to meet with the DUP (Dominic Lipinski/PA) A supply and confidence arrangement is not a formal powersharing coalition.

May has said the divorce talks, likely to be the most complex in Europe since World War Two, would begin as planned next week and her Brexit minister, David Davis, said London's negotiating position was unchanged.

  • Leroy Wright